By Corbin Hosler
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — The field for the Women’s College World Series is half-way set.
Joining OU is Michigan, Washington and Tennessee, which all punched their tickets on Saturday. Four more teams will join the field after today’s super regionals are decided.
OU, which will enter its eighth World Series, will meet Michigan on Thursday to open World Series play. The Wolverines defeated Louisiana-Lafayette to advance to the series. The tournament is double-elimination until the championship round, which is a best-of-three series.
Sooners dominate regional play: With Saturday’s 8-0 run-rule victory over Texas A&M, OU completed a dominant run to the World Series. The Sooners run-ruled four of their five games and outscored opponents 59-8 through regional and super regional play.
Saturday’s runaway win, highlighted by Shelby Pendley’s two home runs and five RBIs, capped off what has been the common theme in postseason play: Keilani Ricketts and Michelle Gascoigne cripple the opposing lineup while the explosive lineup strings together a big inning.
On Saturday that big inning came in the fourth. The Sooners loaded the bases with two outs before Shelby Pendley drew a walk to bring in a run. Keilani Ricketts followed that up with a two-RBI hit and the Sooners added another in the inning. It turned a 4-0 game into the eight-run, run-rule victory.
“The score’s might look like ‘wow,’ but I don’t feel that,’” coach Patty Gasso said. “I feel a tight game going out. Today we just took advantage of some base on balls and had some timely hitting.”
Ricketts makes early adjustments: After coming up with just three hits on Friday, Texas A&M came back Saturday with a more aggressive game plan against OU’s Keilani Ricketts. The Aggies took swings earlier in the count rather than letting Ricketts dictate.
And it paid dividends early. The Aggies put baserunners on in the first and second innings, threatening to keep the game close.
But Ricketts made the needed adjustments, pitching around the zone and varying speeds to regain control. And it worked. After giving up two hits in the first inning, she allowed just one more in the game on a bloop into shallow right field.
“They came out jumping in the first inning,” Ricketts said. “We knew they were a good hitting team. We just focused on giving them a good mix of pitches.”